Planet Money
9:47 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Mexico Loves Costco

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 8:33 am

We've written before about how China's growing middle class is buying more stuff that's made in America.

Turns out, the same thing is happening in Mexico, which buys more U.S. stuff than China.

The Washington Post has a big story on U.S. trade with Mexico, and it focuses on Costco, which has 32 stores in Mexico and is popular with the country's middle-class shoppers:

In a Costco store in the suburbs at the edge of Mexico City, shoppers browse shelves loaded with pallets of Kirkland vitamins, value packs of Nature Valley granola bars and sacks of Cape Cod kettle-cooked potato chips.

From 2009 to 2011, 825 new discounters and more than 3,000 convenience stores opened for business in Mexico. The biggest growth came in modern retail chains, filled with U.S. products, that are challenging, for better or worse, the traditional mom-and-pop stores doling out soda, eggs and tortillas.

Mexico bought $198 billion worth of U.S. goods last year, up from $41 billion in 1993.

The United States sold more stuff to Mexico than to Brazil, India, Japan and Britain combined.

There's also a slide show with the WaPo story that has tons of pictures of the Mexican Costco, which is kind of funny because it looks EXACTLY like every Costco you've ever been to in the U.S.

Hat tip: Cyrus Farivar

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.